“This is United flexing their commercial muscle. And at the same time, laying to rest the brief uprising over their disgraceful involvement in the Super League plot.”
It was not that long ago when outraged Manchester United fans were crashing Old Trafford, forcing the postponement of one of their club’s marquee matches.
Fast forward a few months and a good few million spent on new signings, and supporters are crashing the club’s website, desperate to devour the news that United are paying a veteran player a king’s ransom to return to Manchester.
Super League? What Super League?
If Cristiano Ronaldo is available and wants to come back, it is, quite obviously, a no-brainer.
Even as he looks forward to a 37th birthday, he is going to improve your side, certainly in the short term.
On a footballing level, it would be almost impossible to argue against United’s signing of Ronaldo. As a PR stunt, it would be downright impossible to argue against it.
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It is Glazer brilliance.
One minute, they are facing a pesky peasant’s revolt, the next they are bumping up the value of their shares by untold millions.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has one of the world’s greatest-ever footballers at his disposal and, surely, that can only be good, football-wise?
Even if the signing was not driven by Solskjaer, who already had an array of attacking riches, it is good.
Almost certainly, Solskjaer did want Ronaldo. Obviously. But anyhow, he probably had no choice.
This strikes you as a deal brokered between Jorge Mendes, Ed Woodward and the Glazers. A commercial deal of the highest order.
Forget the sentimental stuff about Ronaldo returning to a spiritual home. He found his spiritual home in Madrid.
This is United flexing their commercial muscle. And at the same time, laying to rest the brief uprising over their disgraceful involvement in the Super League plot.
As they watch the delirious reaction to the recruitment of Ronaldo, the Glazers must raise a glass and wonder if that rebellious day when the Liverpool match did not take place was just a figment of the imagination.
Now, they can get back to caring about serious things, such as the stock exchange value of their club, which took a predictable boost on the news of Ronaldo’s signing.
While no one could condone the more extreme reactions to the Super League plot, it briefly felt as though the fat cats who did not give a jot for English football’s fabric would be rattled.
Heck, for a moment, it seems as though they were – the Glazers even deigned to speak to the fans. Sort of.
But it was a fleeting moment. Give Cristiano to the great unwashed and they will pipe down.
There will be no protests when Ronaldo makes his debut at Old Trafford. The Glazers will probably be there and revel in the love-in. Job done.
As a signing, the return of Ronaldo is intriguing.
As a PR stunt for owners supposedly vilified by large sections of Manchester United’s fanbase, it is a masterstroke.